Job Market Positive for '08 Grads

With graduation fast approaching, and the economy slowing down, members of the class of 2008 may be on the verge of panic attacks at the thought of tracking down gainful employment. Despite the national doom and gloom reports, faculty and staff say this year may be even better than the last for Tulane graduates.

Susan Mickey, left, employer relations manager at the Tulane Career Services Center, meets with Andrey Skripnikov, a senior majoring in finance. Tulane graduates are easy to "sell" to prospective employers, she says. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)

According to Susan Mickey, employer relations manager at the Tulane Career Services Center there has been no shortage of employers looking to tap the new pool of graduates.

"I haven't seen any slowdown," Mickey says. "Tulane students are easy to 'sell' and we try to give the employers everything they need to find the right graduates for a job opening."

Mickey says in years past, employers have been more particular about the degrees the potential recruits have, but this year it is more open.

"We are seeing a lot of employers that are open to a variety of majors," Mickey says. "Lots of different employers are looking for business grads, engineers and architecture students. Of course, we are getting more employers from the environmental industries as well."

On the business front, Peter Ricchiuti, assistant dean of the A. B. Freeman School of Business, agrees this year is shaping up nicely on the job front, albeit a little slowly.

"Everything has been pushed back a bit [due to the economy]," Ricchiuti says. "Companies that usually start recruiting in January, waited until April this year. They were keeping their powder dry for a while, but now they're making moves."

Ricchiuti says the business school typically doesn't look at graduates' employment until August but he is confident the numbers will be encouraging.

"Investment firms we never talked to before are coming to us," Ricchiuti says. "I think that's because we've really been keeping the [A. B. Freeman Business] name out there. Add to that the success Tulane has been having this year. … I tell people 'it's the best comeback story since Lazarus.'"

Of course, he admits that it may not be the well-known Wall Street firms doing much of the hiring.

"Students who have been better able to adapt are seeming to have more success," Ricchiuti says. "Those who feel like they absolutely have to be in New York may be swimming against the tide."

Mickey agrees that with the job market as it is, some flexibility may make it easier to land that first job out of college.

"There is always and ebb and flow to the job market. Anytime there is a situation like this, you have to try a little harder and think a little differently."

That may mean looking into a job that was not on the radar before. There are some industries expanding right now while others are laying off thousands. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, federal, state and local governments are hiring new workers at the fastest pace in six years. Thus far governments added 76,800 jobs in the first three months of 2008.

"We do what it takes to get students hired," Mickey says. "We're not going to sit back and just say 'oh, it's the job market.'"